Members of the Triangle Blazers helped other Wake County kids by participating in the WAKE UP and Read Program. The program was started in 2012 by key business and education leaders in Wake County in an effort to increase childhood literacy in Wake County, North Carolina. Research shows that reading proficiency by the end of the third grade is the most important indicator that a child is on track to graduate from high school on time, college or career ready. Sadly about 67% of all children (80% of low income children) fail to achieve this important milestone. Blazers became part of the solution by collecting books for WAKE UP and Read’s book drive. How did a club basketball team get involved in this project? “First of all we are not just a basketball club, we are a basketball family” said Coach Michael, president of the Blazers. “Our mission is to use basketball to teach life skills. One of the ways we teach leadership and the concept of leaving things better than you found, is through community service projects our players choose and then lead”. Patrick Cannon a 5’6” combo guard from Moore Square flexed his leadership muscles by coming up with the idea for this project and getting his teammates on board. According to Coach Todd, head coach of the Class of 2021, Cannon demonstrated strong organizational and communications skills in the way he structured the project and kept our entire family updated with what was going on. “I was lucky to have books to read and I wanted other kids to have the same opportunity I did” Cannon responded as to why he selected the project. He set a goal for Blazers to collect 100 books. Ten players each collecting 10 books. The Blazers exceeded the goal collecting over 275 books.